Once in a while there’s that show you dream of being in. Then, the stars align and just when you think it’s never going to happen, it happens ... to someone else.
“I’m so happy for you.” These are the words no showgirl is happy to hear herself saying. In fact, she's probably fighting back tears as she says how happy she is.
Vegas is a pretty small town. As showgirls, there are times where we get to work with our friends and have a blast. Then, there are times where we have to compete against them. As I’ve said before, the audition process can be grueling. But when you’re up against your friends, it’s brutal (especially if you end up being happy for them).
Once in a while, a showgirl may be asked to attend a private audition. If so, that means you come highly recommended and have a better chance of getting the job than most. But it can also be a bit of a tease, because while it’s encouraging, it’s much more disappointing if you don’t get it. It's like being invited to be rejected.
Such was the case for me recently. It was down to me and one other girl, who happened to be my best friend. Sometimes an audition can feel like a triathlon. It’s not just one sport. First you dance. Then you sing. Then you act. As you make it closer to the finish line, you’re more and more tired. But with that exhaustion comes more confidence.
When you’re competing against your best friend for one available spot, it gets really complicated. It’s not that you don’t want your friend’s dreams to come true. It’s just that when your friend’s dreams jeopardize yours, suddenly you’re thinking about how you can take them out of the game without getting arrested.
Anyway, we were approaching the finish line of this triathlon. We swam, we cycled, we ran ... and then we waited, and waited, for the producers to decide which one of us was going to win the race. For a showgirl in that position, it’s a nail-biting (aka suicidal, aka homicidal) experience. Your entire future is in another person’s hands. Eventually, you’re thinking, “I don’t care anymore; just choose anyone so I can be free from this anxiety.” Then you get scared that you may have jinxed yourself, and begin considering damage control. “I was just kidding. Choose me. Don’t let this all be for nothing!”
The door opened and the producer stepped out. Like a body-language expert, I tried to read his every micro facial expression, hoping to find the answer that could put me out of my misery. And then he said to me the five words no showgirl ever wants to hear, “Thank you for your time,” followed by five precious words to my friend, “Congratulations, welcome to the cast.”
Of course, you tell yourself, “This just wasn’t meant to be.” But all you can think is that you were one person away from it meaning to be. It’s amazing how in the life of a showgirl, in one hour your whole life can change. It’s also amazing how in the life of this showgirl, in one hour your whole life can stay the same.
Fighting back the tears, I put on the obligatory smile. I was just about to give my best friend a congratulatory hug when the production whisked her away into rehearsal-land like a fairy godmother.
I went home and drowned my sorrows with a large glass of wine. Okay, it was a bottle of wine ... I think.
I pulled out my phone, and like a drunk robot (they should make those) texted the five words I would so much rather hear than say:
I generously threw in the smiley face and exclamation mark, hoping to cover the scent of my envy and defeat. It took me an hour to double-check the text, since the tears falling onto my screen made them blurry. Then, I pressed the send button.
I got a reply text back, “How did you know I was getting married?” Turns out I accidentally texted an ex-boyfriend.
I started sobbing. I mean, I don’t even have feelings for him anymore. Do I?
Oh, and if my best friend is reading this—and you know who you are—let me just say that I’m so ... that is, I’m, I’m ... so ...